Burner Modifications

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Burner

In the process of diagnosing my problems I’ve addressed air intake, tube and exit gas velocity and flame stability. Here is the end result as it deviates from my initial Propane Burner post.

  1. Larger air intakes than initial size
  2. Tip pushed forward
  3. Simplified Flame Holder
  4. Choke
  5. Paint Job

Read the rest of this entry »


The Fan-Grill Holder

Posted: August 16, 2010 in Burner

After seeing that cool video of the jet engine with the fan-grill flame holder from the Fixing the Propane Burner post, I decided to give it a shot  on my burner.  Could that slow down my flame enough to be stable?

After cutting out the center ring and keeping posts on the side to go into slots I notched into the end of the pipe, I brazed it into place.

I melted off one of the arms.   Ah well.

Then I hooked it to the regulator and fired it up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fixing the Propane Burner

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Burner

So, we had a problem…  the flame was shooting into the pipe.  I ran many experiments.  I lengthened the accelerator pipe holding the jet, I pushed the jet further into the tube, I widened the air-intake channels, all to no avail.  

That’s when I was left with 2 options… the jet needs to be smaller to get faster propane velocity or the regulator is broken.  I’d noticed at one point that I could no longer tune the jet with the regulator as I had in my initial firing.  

That’s when I realized that maybe it wasn’t the regulator, maybe it was the propane tank!  A little googling later…  

Read the rest of this entry »

Firing up the Burner

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Burner

Well, the new propane regulator finally arrived so it was finally time to hook up to my propane burner.   Initially I was intending to use an old Acetylene regulator that I no longer needed but:

  1. The connector was designed for one of the gray tanks, not the commonplace propane tanks.
  2. I’ve read conflicting information on whether you can safely use Acetylene regulators on Propane and vice versa.

Given that I’d need to buy adapters, etc, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the risk since propane regulators can be cheap (though they can also be very expensive.)  

However, I had bought the high-pressure hose first, back when I thought I could use the Acetylene regulator… so now I had to mate that up to a propane regulator

I’d read good things about people using generic “turkey fryer” regulators and ended up going that way.  Since I already had the Bayou Classic hose, it seemed like a good idea to get the Bayou Classic propane regulator and it seemed relatively well regarded as opposed to some others.  It can go from 0 to 30 psi which should be plenty of heat for what I’m trying to do.  20 psi should be sufficient from my reading, but 30 gives us a little extra headroom.

Now, in retrospect, I may have been better served by buying a burner kit but I was doing piece-meal.  If I’d gotten the kit, I could probably reuse the pressure gauge without needing to spend an extra $10 in connectors and extra mess.   

Read the rest of this entry »

Pro-V burner added

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

The Pro-V burner design was added to the Gallery of Fire for those who have access to precision machinery.

Shell Welding

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Furnace Body


Not too much to say here except that I’m a total welding novice, and I finally got some welding done on the shell:

  1. Tacking the steel ring to the lid (in addition to the sheet metal screws)
  2. Tacking the two bottom pieces together
  3. Attempting to weld a burner clamp to a steel bracket that I made

The lid wasn’t too bad.  I made sure to mostly heat the ring and get as little on the tub as I could.

The two bottom pieces could have been worse, but ran into the issue that while the tub SEEMS like a thick piece of metal, it really isn’t… I was having to be very careful not to melt it away as I was doing my welding.  I left a couple of small holes, but by and large it looks ok.   Both of these were simply done in spots, not all of the way around.  The latter would have been nice, but I was running out of patience and time.  🙂

The third one was a colossal problem.  I don’t know why I hadn’t realized it before, but the clamp I was using was NOT steel… I think aluminum.   So, as I was heating the steel the clamp would just melt away.  Bah!  Fine… steel pipe it is.

In any event, here’s the rough-form furnace shell.  Not too horrible for someone that hasn’t welded in 20 years, but not as awesome as I was hoping.  Practice makes perfect.

Over-Insulating the Castable

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Furnace Body

When creating a homemade refractory mix, the common suggestion is to add sawdust or foam beads to the clay and other materials.  The result is a lighter, less dense refractory.  As the refractory is heated up, the organic material burns away, leaving voids in the heat-resistant material.  These voids transfer heat much less efficiently, increasing the insulative value of the refractory.  The net result is that more of the heat stays in the crucible chamber and less leaks to the outside.  For a foundry or forge, that’s a wonderful thing… we’re not buying propane to cause global warming!  

The more heat that stays in the chamber, the faster the piece gets up to melting and forging temps which results in much more efficient operation.  Theoretically, with perfect insulation a candle could melt iron (eventually), but there is no perfect insulator.  As we add heat from the burner, heat is being lost through the shell as well as escaping out the exhaust, which is a shame, but a necessary evil unfortunately.  Still, we want an insulator as good as we can get so that we can add heat significantly faster than it leaves, so that the temperature can keep increasing.  As the temperature increases, so does the rate of heat loss, so ultimately good insulation is the key to high temperatures. 

To this end, most hobbyists skip the refractory entirely and go strictly with a ceramic wool  material that has VERY high insulation value and brings things up to heat quickly.  The downside of this is mainly durability. Physically they can’t take much abuse, and welding fluxes and glass will destroy it quickly.  That doesn’t make them bad, it just means that you need to be careful.  You’d be well-advised to coat the material with Satanite and ITC-100 to give it some substance and  resistance to flux.  Putting a dense board on the bottom isn’t a bad idea either. 


Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: August 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’d like to open this up a little.  If you have created a furnace, forge, or propane burner leave me a link to your creation… either an image or a web page, + your name/handle and any explanations or short commentary.  I’m going to set up a gallery page to show off everyone’s work and serve as an inspiration for aspiring newbies.

The Gallery of Fire is to showcase people’s homemade tools such as furnaces, forges, etc.

The Gallery of Earth is to showcase the end result of the fire in the creation of art, etc.

And please, feel free to leave comments.

The Furnace Shell, part 1

Posted: August 1, 2010 in Furnace Body

The furnace and shell are two parts of the same whole.  A feature in the furnace makes its way into the shell.  However, since I’m using castable insulating refractory and will need to make molds, etc, I’m just going to break this up into individual elements.

I got my initial inspiration from Lionel Oliver’s Backyard Metalcasting site, specifically his “2 bucks” furnace.  However, I was having a heck of a time actually finding 5 gallon metal buckets!  What used to be prevelant, is now rather hard to come by.  I didn’t really want to buy a ton of paint (and what do I do with it?) just to get buckets, and while ordering buckets online is cheap, shipping them is not.

I contemplated buying some cheap stock pots from walmart, but “cheap” is a relative term, and $30 each isn’t especially cheap though it would have been stainless steel and rather cool.  It may have been a little on the small side too, since I wanted to get an inswool coating in there as well as the castable.  And then, I stumbled on a pair of ice buckets from target that seemed to fit the bill… not huge… a good size and relatively inexpensive.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Propane Burner

Posted: July 28, 2010 in Burner

As mentioned in the overview, Ron Reil has a lot of good information on his site.  Unfortunately, it’s organized rather badly as far as a “how to” goes, and operates more as a “here are things I’ve done.”  Nuggets of wisdom are scattered around the various pages though, so with a bit of work you can figure some things out.

Distilling the wisdom of the net, this is what I ultimately came up with, but why, and how do they work?

Lets look at a simple Reil burner plan to understand the concepts.

Read the rest of this entry »